According to OpenTable, there are more than 180 restaurants in or near Salem, Oregon. While restaurants may close their doors with little notice, and others open up every year, the thing to keep in mind is that those restaurants must have grease traps installed. Restaurant grease trap services in Salem, Oregon, ensure that fats, oils, and grease don’t end up in sewer lines.
Have you seen any of the news articles about “fatbergs” blocking city sewer lines? Fats, oils, and grease solidify with materials like plastic, paper products, baby wipes, and other materials. Those chunks of fat and other items form a hard mass that creates clogs in sewer lines, causing sewage and wastewater to back up in homes, businesses, and streets.
Section 74.050 of the City of Salem’s Code of Ordinances makes it clear that fats, oils, or grease (FOG) that can create issues in sewer lines are prohibited. Restaurants produce a lot of FOG each day while washing dishes, cleaning kitchen equipment, or running a dishwasher. To prevent the discharge of FOG, a grease trap is necessary.
Per codes, grease traps must be cleaned and inspected regularly at a restaurant’s expense. If it isn’t working properly, repairs need to be made quickly to prevent the release of FOG into the sewer lines. What does a grease trap do to help lower FOG from wastewater? What happens during a grease trap cleaning and inspection?
How Does a Grease Trap Work?
There are different types of grease traps, and while the basic operation is the same, there are some differences.
- Passive Hydromechanical (Manual) Grease Traps – Lower cost but the FOG layer and food particles (sludge) must be removed regularly by hand and cleanings are necessary.
- Gravity Grease Traps – They work in the same way as a passive hydromechanical trap, but they’re designed for higher flow rates.
- Automatic Grease Traps – Higher cost, but heaters and skimmers remove the oils into a separate removable bin that can be drained as needed into a used cooking oil container for used cooking oil collection. Food particles still sink to the bottom and form a sludge layer.
A grease trap plays an important role in stopping FOG from getting into sewer lines. To do this, a grease trap is installed inside or outside of a restaurant. Its location depends on the size and your restaurant’s FOG output.
A smaller café may be okay with a smaller trap that’s located in a store room or under a sink, but most restaurants have larger tanks that are set in the ground and have two access covers.
Water from sinks, kitchen drains, and dishwashers travels through an inlet pipe into the grease trap’s first chamber. In that chamber is a flow diverter that slows the rate of wastewater going into the trap. Solid foods settle to the bottom of the grease trap and FOG solidifies as the water cools and floats to the surface.
Water moves to a second chamber where an outlet pipe is located. The outlet pipe is positioned between a FOG layer and any sludge from food particles. It flows out to the sewer lines. Typically, cleanings and inspections are needed when sludge takes up 25% of the tank.
Understand the Steps in a Grease Trap Cleaning and Inspection
What happens in a grease trap cleaning? There are multiple steps.
- FOG, Sludge, and Gray Water Are Removed
The grease trap is opened and FOG and sludge are suctioned out into a truck. This makes it easy to start cleaning and inspecting the grease trap. The FOG, sludge, and wastewater go to wastewater treatment plants for processing.
- Walls, Floors, and Corners Are Cleaned
Using smaller hoses, technicians use hot water to spray clean the walls and floors of the grease trap. It ensures that all greasy residue and sludge are removed from the corners. Inlet and outlet pipes are cleared, too.
If there are any crusted-on sections of grease or food particles, scraping tools are used to remove the materials and make sure the grease trap is completely clean. Jets are used to clear clogged lines if there are any.
- The Grease Trap Inspection Begins
The inspection process begins. Technicians look for holes, rust, deterioration, and cracks where wastewater is leaking out. You don’t want wastewater leaking out into your foundation, as that can be an expensive mess to clean up and lead to lost supplies. If repairs are needed or something will wear out soon, you’ll be told what needs to be done. You can get an estimate and schedule the repairs at your convenience.
- Final Paperwork Is Issued
Paperwork is filled out providing proof that you had your grease trap cleaned and inspected. That paperwork is important as it provides the evidence that you need that you’re doing your part to keep FOG out of the sewers, and that you haven’t done anything wrong if a clogged line is found in your neighborhood.
Why Choose Northwest Biofuel?
Northwest Biofuel provides grease trap cleanings, inspections, and repairs. We also provide free inspections if you’re unsure of the condition of your grease trap.
Our technicians work around your schedule, so you don’t have to make a special trip to open up the restaurant. We also have a variety of discounts available, including a $25 credit if you provide us with a key to access your restaurant to clean the grease trap outside of restaurant hours.
We do not believe in contracts. We do believe in having the lowest prices without needing to be bound by contract terms. Once we’ve cleaned your grease trap, you get a certificate proving it was completed and we file the required paperwork with the City of Salem to ensure you’re meeting the city’s requirements.
In addition to restaurant grease trap services in Salem, Oregon, you should consider drain cleaning services. If your restaurant’s sinks or floor drains are backing up, you have a clog somewhere. With regular cleaning, you don’t run into this problem. Drains work correctly, which prevents the need to shut down your restaurant for a deep clean after a drain link backup.
If you pair a grease trap cleaning with used cooking oil collection, you save money. You’ll be provided with a collection bin for your used cooking oil. Fill that and have Northwest Biofuel transport your used cooking oil to a processing facility where it is converted into biofuel. As used cooking oil has value, we deduct the cooking oil from your drain cleaning invoice. With both services, you save money while also responsibly disposing of your cooking oil.
Northwest Biofuel is your one-stop provider of used cooking oil recycling, grease trap services, and drain cleaning. Schedule the services you need and know that you will not pay if you’re not completely satisfied. Pairing grease trap cleanings and cooking oil collection helps you save money, so make sure you ask our team about this and other important discounts.